Starting a Business

Do I Need a Trademark?

min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Generally, once you form a company and file your company name with your state's Secretary of State, you can use that company name where ever you like across the globe.

But that's different from filing a trademark. A trademark typically protects brand names and logos used on goods and services. Your company name is not necessarily a brand name -- and not all company names can get trademark protection.

For example, if your company name is "Online Film Productions," the Trademark Office may well consider that far too basic to qualify for protection, as it merely describes what you do.

In addition, receiving a U.S. trademark does not by itself qualify you for protection around the world. There are additional steps you need to take to register your trademark in accordance with various international treaties.

As an Internet-based film production company, you'll be facing a number of legal issues: 1. As you pointed out, national and possibly international trademark issues; 2. International copyright issues -- and how to prevent others from pirating your work; and 3. Various contract issues to cover the freelancers or other companies to whom you outsource aspects of film creation and production.

You should discuss these issues with an attorney or firm that deals with film production and international trademark issues. They should help give you clear guidance on the best next steps for your business.

Related: Protect Yourself
Related: Don't File for That Patent Yet

More from Entrepreneur

Whether you are launching or growing a business, we have all the business tools you need to take your business to the next level, in one place.
Enroll Now

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

In as little as seven months, the Entrepreneur Authors program will turn your ideas and expertise into a professionally presented book.
Apply Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.